Smith details FF plans to support rural GP’s

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, says his Party has fully costed and workable plans to solve the crisis in GP care in rural communities.

Deputy Smith explained, “There is a serious crisis in local primary care services in Cavan-Monaghan. Patients are left seeking a new GP, however sparse they are, as the exodus of GP’s continues. In many cases people cannot find new GP services and rely on Emergency Departments which has consequences for our hospitals.

“Forcing patients to wait for days on end is not only cruel, it could lead to a deterioration in their condition which can ultimately mean that they may need more acute treatment. This is just piling the pressure on an already massively overcrowded hospital system.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to improving conditions for GPs and patients and if leading the next government we aim to put forward workable and costed solutions to solve the crisis.

“If leading the next government Fianna Fáil will negotiate a new contract to underpin General Practice for the next 30 years to include issues such as Women’s Health Programmes, Out of Hours Services and Services to patients in Nursing Homes.  We’ll also increase GP training places to 274 and protect rural GP practices by increasing the allowance to €30,000.

“GPs are, and should be, the first port of call for people who are unwell in Cavan-Monaghan.  Nobody should be forced to visit an ED or wait for weeks for an appointment.  Fianna Fáil will invest in our primary care system, starting with GPs for the people of Cavan-Monaghan,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Fianna Fáil will ensure a fair price for farmers – Smith

fair priceFianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said Fianna Fáil are committed to supporting Irish farmers and ensuring they receive a fair price for their suckler cows.

Deputy Smith was commenting as Fianna Fáil outlined its policy for creating a sustainable agricultural sector. The Party manifesto recognises the challenges faced by the sector and sets out a number of policies to protect and enhance it.

“Poor leadership and a lack of action has led to the crisis the farming community finds itself in. In March 2018, Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion to address the beef crisis. In it we set out a number of steps the Government could take to address the problem.

“Fast forward to September 2019 and following a number of factory gate protests, Fine Gael sat down with farmers and agreed on a number of measures, most of which were contained in the Fianna Fáil motion. The proposals we outlined then would have gone some way to helping the farmers who are on their knees now – but they were ignored by Fine Gael.

“Fianna Fáil will continue to put farmers best interests to the fore. We will deliver policies that will protect the 137,500 family farms across the country and secure a fair price for the primary producer. We will protect Ireland’s interests in CAP negotiations, work to ensure farming is a viable business and develop new market opportunities.

“While the Government keeps referring to 2030 and 2040 as their target for solutions we want to deliver change now. In the next five years we will seek to amend EU rules to provide greater supports for the sector. We will expand farm assist and increase areas of Natural Constraints and biodiversity payments.

“We want to ensure a suckler cow payment of €200 per head and get access to international markets. We will support tillage, organic and horticulture farmers and create a sustainable forestry sector. We will also secure Ireland’s place as the global leader in the Equine industry.

“Farmers in Counties Cavan and Monaghan have experienced some of the worst years in the industry. These are largely the fault of the Minister for Agriculture and Fine Gael in their hands-off approach. It is clear we need a change,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Ensuring a fair price for farmers

FF will increase the State Pension by €25 – Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has pledged that his party will raise the State Pension by €25 in government.

Deputy Smith commented, “Fianna Fáil will increase the State pension by €25 over the lifetime of the next government. Furthermore, we will protect the Free Travel Scheme; allocate an additional €20m to Housing Adaptation Grants and provide an additional 5 million home care hours over the next five years.

“Fianna Fáil will also ensure that those who are 65 but not yet entitled to a State pension will not have to sign on the dole. We will provide a transition payment, defer the increase in the State pension age and establish a Commission on Pensions to examine this issue.

“If elected to government, Fianna Fáil will deliver for older people. A key priority for us in government will be to ensure that older people have the income and resources that they require to live full and independent lives,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Major education campaign on the hazards of casual drug taking a key priority – Smith

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said that €3 million euro will be set aside by Fianna Fáil for a major national education campaign.

“Tackling the country’s crippling drug problem requires major reform and every day we hear stories of individuals, families and communities that have been left devastated by drugs and the violence which is associated with it. Unfortunately, we are not immune from this crisis in Counties Cavan and Monaghan. The response from the government has been inadequate and underwhelming.

“We plan to introduce legislation that will severely punish those who purchase drugs from children and those who use minors as cogs in their distribution network. An education campaign will be rolled out nationally to warn the public on the hazards of casual drug taking. We also plan to increase funding to drugs taskforces over the next two years and then review the situation further.

“We will also review the methadone treatment protocol as currently more than 10,000 people are currently on a methadone treatment programme,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Affordable and social homes a reality for Cavan-Monaghan under FF – Smith


Fianna Fáil is committing to an ambitious programme of affordable and social housing in County Cavan and County Monaghan over the next 5 years.

The Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, says the party is also pledging a Special Savings Scheme for first time buyers to help them pull together a deposit for their first home.

“This is all part of a central plan aimed at making owning your own home a real prospect again. In recent years the worry from families trapped in homelessness or a never-ending cycle of renting has been a regular issue raised directly with me.  

“Owning your own home was always considered a basic right in Ireland. But in recent years it has become further and further out of the reach of an entire generation of people, thanks to the disastrous policies of the outgoing government. It is unacceptable, and it must change.

“My party is promising to build 50,000 affordable homes and 50,000 social homes across the country over the next 5 years if elected to Government.

 “In addition, we are promising a special savings scheme for first time buyers, that will work similarly to the SSIA. Under this plan, the State will add €1 to every €3 saved by those pulling together a deposit for their first mortgage. This would increase the savings by 33% – with the State contributing a maximum of €10,000.

“We are committed to solving the housing crisis. Under Fine Gael there is no end to crisis and things have only become worse. It is time for a change,” concluded Deputy Smith.  

FF commit to reducing waiting times and increasing bed capacity in health service


Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said his party will tackle soaring Emergency Department waiting times.

Deputy Smith said, “Under Fine Gael and Minister Harris there is a mounting crisis in bed capacity and wait times in Emergency Departments across the country. Unfortunately, in Cavan-Monaghan we are not immune from this nationwide problem.

“In Cavan General Hospital we are in need of an upgrade to our Emergency Department. It has seen a significant increase in visitors, with the number of visits to our Emergency Department increase by 3,158 in 2018 compared with 2012.

“Fianna Fáil have been clear. We will increase bed capacity in our hospitals, including Cavan General Hospital, to reduce Emergency Department waiting times to a target waiting time of four hours.  

“We will ensure there is an emergency medicine consultant present in Emergency Departments on a 24-hour basis. We aim to improve access to diagnostics for Emergency Departments and GPs with a new minor capital grant fund of €50m.

 “All the while we will lift the recruitment embargo Fine Gael have implemented to ensure vital roles are filled in our hospitals.

“It is clear under Fine Gael their health policy has failed. It is time for change,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Escalation of crime is a stark reminder that a new approach is needed

Under Garda1.pngFine Gael we have seen criminal activity rise to drastic levels. Last week we all read of the tragic and violent murders, lives thrown into disarray and families mourning loved ones.

In our neighbouring area of Drogheda we now know a teenager from the locality was violently murdered in a feuding gangland attack. This was a horrific incident which has no place in our communities. There is a real fear across communities as the nature of these murders ramps up.

In the border region, we have our own unique policing needs because of a long land-border with a neighbouring jurisdiction but Fine Gael do not get this. I introduced a Bill which would establish a Cross Border Crime Agency. This was introduced in the absence of any real political leadership from the outgoing government.

Gardaí can only do so much with the resources made available to them. The Force needs to stand at 16,000 Gardaí nationally. Gardaí must be resourced to operate 24-hour around the clock surveillance of the gang leaders that are controlling the sale and supply of drugs in our communities. They know who they are – they just need the resources to tackle them effectively.

Communities are being destroyed and families being left devastated by this epidemic. A new approach is needed as the Fine Gael approach to law and order has only allowed criminal activity to surge.